I have two passions in life outside of my family—classic TV shows and fantasy football. We’ve had some major debates about some of the new rookie TEs this year, so I figured this would be the perfect time to focus on Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez , since they’re the two newest members of the Brady Bunch in New England.
Gronkowski and Hernandez were both high on my list going into the draft, but I have to admit I’m disappointed that they ended up in the same place. Gronkowski had to be flying high after he landed in the Patriots' lap, but also had to be equally disappointed when they took Hernandez later in the same draft.
It’s kind of like tuning into the newest season of the Brady Bunch and learning they added Oliver to the cast. Who needed Oliver? The Brady Bunch had enough bad luck already! Doesn’t anyone remember the rabbit discoloration episode or Peter’s voice changing when he needed to sing?
It just seemed to be an unnecessary blow to fantasy owners to see Hernandez taken after Gronkowski, just like adding a cursed blonde kid was a blow to the Brady Bunch series.
With that in mind, let’s try to sort it out in the latest installment of the draft day debate.
Gronkowski – 6′6″, 264 lbs
Hernandez – 6′3″, 245 lbs
Gronkowski has prototypical size for a TE and should be a huge red zone target. He’s also big enough to be a very effective blocker.
Hernandez is a little shorter, and there is some concern that he’s more of an H-back than a conventional TE. His speed helps him offensively, but I can’t help but wonder if he’ll be a liability blocking.
In essence, comparing Gronkowski to Hernandez size-wise is like comparing Cindy Brady to Kitty Carry-All.
Gronkowski – 4.75 40
Hernandez – 4.70 40
It’s slight, but when you watch tape, it’s obvious that Hernandez has better quickness and overall speed.
Slight Advantage: Hernandez
Hernandez – 3
Gronkowski – 47/672/10 (2008)
Hernandez – 68/850/5
The numbers for Gronkowski are for 2008, based on him missing the entire 2009 season due to injury. Hernandez put up some great numbers in 2009, but you have to take them with a grain of salt since Florida put up around 10,000 points last year.
Gronkowski – New England (#42 overall)
Hernandez – New England (#113 overall)
You would think it’s a push because they’re on the same team. That’s true, but you really need to dig deeper. Gronkowski has the potential to be an every down TE, while Hernandez is likely going to be a situational player based on his size.
Uh oh. The leader just got caught. Gronkowski has a serious red flag based on his spinal injury. Some scouts were convinced that he has spinal stenosis and won’t regain his old form, likely shortening his career and stunting his potential. Back and neck injuries are certainly no laughing matter (except for that one episode where the guy in the neck brace tried to sue Carol Brady). Most say the injury is behind him, but it’s something that was certainly a factor since he easily has first round ability.
Hernandez has no durability issues, though I wonder if he may have a tendency to consume too many calories on occasion.
Here’s where Gronkowski regains his stranglehold on the debate. Hernandez is known to have failed at least one drug test while at Florida. Some media outlets report he may have failed FIVE tests. You have to wonder about his maturity and commitment to his team.
The Brady Bunch has value in syndication and in New England. If you’re on a team with Tom Brady, you have to be looked at. It was unfortunate for both of these players to end up with the same franchise, but it doesn’t destroy their value altogether.
However, I’ve been seeing each of these players taken way too high in rookie drafts. After all, even great TEs don’t score more than a few points more than the rest. I don’t see either of these two being elite either. Let’s not forget that Alge Crumpler is still on the roster.
I’d target Gronkowski no earlier than round three in rookie drafts and follow with Hernandez in round four. I’d also seriously consider taking Jimmy Graham over either of them.
Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez are two players who need to be evaluated well around your draft time—just don’t overdraft either of them thinking you have the next Johnny Bravo.